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6/10/2014 10:54:00 AM
Barbeque festival kicks off Friday in Williams
The Cued Up barbeque team toils over the grills during last year’s Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival. Photo/WGCN
The Cued Up barbeque team toils over the grills during last year’s Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival. Photo/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter


WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Barbeques are a summer tradition. And on June 13 and 14, the Williams Visitor Center parking lot will turn into one massive barbeque when more than 30 teams compete in the fifth annual Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival.

The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctions the event, with about $10,000 up for grabs in cash prizes. Teams from Arizona, Nevada, Utah and California will compete in chicken, pork, ribs, brisket and dessert categories.

The winner of the Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival will be invited to compete in the American Royal World Series of Barbeque in Kansas City in October, said Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Darlene Bitter.

"You're talking about your die-hard barbeque guys out doing these competitions," she said. "They do it every weekend. They'll pack up and go to the next competition when they're done with us. So it's really fun to see and to talk to the guys too. They're very nice people."

Entrance is free to the event, which besides the barbeque will also feature beer and wine, food concessions and live music.

Taste tests of the barbeque from each team will be available both days for $2 apiece. After doing some sampling, attendees can vote for their favorite barbeque team for the People's Choice Award.

The Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival kicks off on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. The first day is when competitors show up and start cooking.

"They will spend all night smoking some of their meats. A lot of these guys are doing several different categories," Bitter said. "Some of those meats they smoke for seven to sometimes 10 hours. So these guys are having to keep the fire stoked all night long, so they kind of take shifts to keep the fire going."

Pure Prophet will provide classic rock music on Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The event continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Muskellunge bluegrass band will play from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The awards will be presented at 4 p.m.

Beer and wine from the Grand Canyon Brewing Company, the Grand Canyon Winery and the Historic Brewing Company will be for sale both days.

Bitter encouraged the community to come out and enjoy the festival.

"Who doesn't like barbeque?" Bitter said. "It's the beginning of summer. It's going to be fun. It's just a great way to get together and have some barbeque."

More information is available from the Chamber at (928) 635-0273.

Related Stories:
• Barbeque Festival up in smoke


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014
Article comment by: Happy Camper

Well, I for one had a great time! We especially enjoyed the bluegrass band on Saturday. They were extremely talented musicians.

As for taste size... It seemed in order to us. When we go to Chili Cook-Offs you get a tiny plastic cup. It is a TASTE.

We bought sandwiches and roasted corn from the vendors and enjoyed it very much.

We will gladly go back.


Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Article comment by: To BR

BR - I believe you should direct your complaints to the Convention and Visitors Bureau/Chamber as they were the ones who were running this event...Nuf Said?

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Article comment by: D P

I was very disappointed in the BBQ festival this year. The prices were high for very small samples and one of the vendors didn't even provide utensils to eat with. A complete sampling of BBQ food was missing (i.e. no vendor offered ribs) and a few of the vendors didn't even offer samples to the public.

Hopefully next years festival will be an improvement.



Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Article comment by: B R

I want to share my EXTREME disappointment with the BBQ festival in Williams. As noted in the preceding comment, the advertising gave a false impression of this (what should have been) private get together of folks barbecuing. I invited family and friends to travel to Williams for a great BBQ festival, with live music and socialization with friends and family. Instead, I was embarrassed that they had wasted their time and money to travel here, only to end up going to my house for our own BBQ. I will never make the mistake of attending this event again, and I guarantee my family and friends will not either!
1. Cost to portion size was ABSURD!
2. Participants that were sharing with public was minimal!
3. Would wait at a contestants station to be told that their BBQ was for friends and family- NOT the public!
* I abruptly left after this comment and wondered why we allowed these people to camp for free all weekend while they BBQ'd with their friends and family in our Visitor Center Parking Lot and 3rd Street??
Although not all participating were unpleasant, a significant portion were, leaving me feeling uneasy about the event. I hope that we re-consider allowing this event in the future!!


Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Article comment by: Robin B

The BBQ festival this year was very disappointing. For my $2 I received a 1"x2" piece of brisket at one stall. The next stall's was only slightly larger. Another wanted 2 tickets for a small chicken thigh. $4 for a chicken thigh!?! When they sell for $.99 a lb?!? The last 3 years I've attended it seems the samples get smaller & smaller while the price per sample went up. Something that will fit in a thimble shouldn't be getting $2 a piece.

And why are some bbq'ers exempt from supplying samples? If you aren't supplying samples why are you allowed to take possession of a whole city block?

I'm so upset because this sounds so much better when it's advertised. With all these competitive BBQ'ers I thought we(the customers) would be treated to a cornucopia of bbq. I was tantalized by a mental picture of plates covered in BBQ for people to enjoy while listening to good music & visiting w/ friends & neighbors. The actual product left much to be desired.




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